Gubernatorial candidates face off in second debate

Gubernatorial candidates face off in second debate

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By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Tennessee gubernatorial candidates Republican Bill Haslam and Democrat Mike McWherter faced off on the UT campus Thursday night. It was the second time they debated, but this time they were on Haslam's turf.

The candidates took on a range of topics from teacher tenure to tort reform, their fathers' influence, even medical marijuana.

"I'm against the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes," Haslam said.

"Bill, you and I are 100 percent on that issue. I'm opposed to it," McWherter said.

Haslam and McWherter also both said they wouldn't take the governor's salary and haven't employed illegal immigrants, but that's where the agreement ended.

"Bill, I've seen your ads about Haywood County, really trying to hijack credit for helping get that developed. Frankly, I talked to my state senator about it several times, and so I may run an ad very similar to yours," McWherter said.

"The point of my ad is to show that I have a history of working across parties. That's the Democratic mayor of Haywood County, right next to your home county, who has said 'I believe in Bill Haslam,'" Haslam countered.

The blows didn't stop there.

"Bill Haslam will not reveal his income taxes, nor will he detail his involvement in Pilot Corp.," McWherter said.

"Everybody in Tennessee knows my connection to Pilot. I'm quite frankly surprised, Mike, at how anti-business you've been," Haslam said.

After leaving the stage, the debate continued.

"That's been the kind of politics-as-usual type approach that unfortunately Mike has taken," Haslam said.

"He may call it politics. I call it facts," McWherter said.

Early voting starts Wednesday, October 13. 

The candidates will face off in a third debate in Memphis.

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